Hamilton and Higgins

By Legal Eagle

Now, I don’t usually get involved in the nitty-gritty of politics. I don’t know how far my my general sympathies are obvious to readers because I have unorthodox views which mean I don’t fit well into any party camp. Let’s just say it’s very unlikely you’ll ever see me campaigning for the Liberal Party.

But when I saw that Clive Hamilton is going to run as a candidate for Higgins, I was suddenly possessed by an unfamiliar feeling. I want Kelly O’Dwyer to beat Clive Hamilton hands down for the seat of Higgins.

Disclosure: I know Kelly personally, although I haven’t seen her for a few years. I don’t agree with her on many issues, but she’s willing to discuss questions in a cordial way. If there’s one Liberal I’d like to see elected in this country, it’s her. She is strong, smart and articulate. I like her. I note that she has been copping some flak for being young and female. I think that it’s fantastic to see a woman get ahead.

Now on to Hamilton. I’ve never had much time for him. I think that there is a definite place for environmentalism and environmental concerns. But it is a theory of mine that some in the Green movement combine the worst elements of paganism and the worst elements of Christianity.

On the pagan side, I have seen dippy ideas about the great balance of “Mother Nature”, without remembering that in pagan religions, there is a threefold division between Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. Nature is a bitch. Think of cuckoos – laying their own eggs in the nest and throwing out the legitimate eggs so that some other bird has to bring up baby. Or sharks eating baby seals. Or whatever.

I have also discerned a kind of hideous neo-puritanism in the Green movement. Perhaps they have borrowed this from the Christians, but lack any of the compassion which true Christians display. According to this neo-puritanical view, we are all reaping the rewards of our environmental sins, and the only way we can rid ourselves of these sins is self-denial (along with a bit of self-flagellation). We must deny ourselves airplane travel, car travel, big houses, exotic food, procreation, etc etc. (Well, “the masses” must deny themselves these things…of course, those who are elite intellectuals in the Green movement can be trusted to be wise). There is a strong millenarian streak in this brand of environmentalism – the end of the world is nigh unless we take urgent action now. The meek shall inherit the earth because they burn cow dung and do not use electricity. Hamilton typifies that latter category.

Someone in comments at Andrew Norton’s place likened Hamilton to an Old Testament prophet, but I wonder if Saint Paul isn’t a better comparison. There’s that fervour mixed with piety and self-hatred. Like Andrew Norton, Pollytics isn’t impressed either. On the other hand, Guy Rundle thinks he has a chance. and Mark at LP think he has a chance. Mark at LP thinks it’s yet another instance of putting in a high profile candidate which may backfire.

Personally, I would never vote for Hamilton, and Sinclair Davidson’s excellent post at Catallaxy illustrates why. He simply contrasts Hamilton’s statement that he is taking a principled stance with a quotation from a 2007 article by Hamilton in the Courier Mail:

Very few people, even among environmentalists, have truly faced up to what the science is telling us.

This is because the implications of 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of “emergency” responses such as the suspension of democratic processes. [my emphasis added]

This guy is not to be trusted. He thinks that he knows better than anyone else what is good for them. And if they don’t know what’s good for them, he’ll force it down their throats… I wouldn’t touch him with a six foot barge pole. Go Kelly!


What was I saying about dippy paganism and environmentalism? [Incidentally, I am reliably informed that serious pagans call dippy paganism “fluffwicca”, a name which I love]

Andrew Bolt has collected some quotes from Clive Hamilton, including this beautiful ripe one which rather proves my analysis above:

So I think where we’re going is to begin to see a Gaian earth in its ecological, cybernetic way, infused with some notion of mind or soul or chi, which will transform our attitudes to it away from an instrumentalist one, towards an attitude of greater reverence. I mean, the truth is, unless we do that, I mean we seriously are in trouble, because we know that Gaia is revolting against the impact of human beings on it.

[Hamilton on Philosopher’s Zone on ABC radio]


  1. whitefrankblack
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, gentlemen, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G, it has been real. Thanks and goodnight.

  2. Posted October 28, 2009 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Hives is into fluffwicca. Now why does that not surprise me? (read LE’s post update if this comment makes no sense).

  3. Posted October 28, 2009 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I love that added quote by Clive. Bob Brown has similarly dippy religious views. I wonder if a tendency to new-age/Gaian spirituality is more common amongst Greens voters/politicians? The major parties seem to be more inclined to traditional belief.

  4. Posted October 28, 2009 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Clive in that email about Leigh Sales asking one or two questions about climate skeptics: “And I thought, well, just shut up.”

    Just shut up. Yes, there’s a nuanced, tolerant, and non-divisive position that certainly bodes well for the future policy initiatives of the Greens… not!

  5. Posted October 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I should have said ‘link’, not ’email’, in that previous comment… not that it matters until it gets unmoderated!

  6. Posted October 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I love that added quote by Clive. Bob Brown has similarly dippy religious views. I wonder if a tendency to new-age/Gaian spirituality is more common amongst Greens voters/politicians? The major parties seem to be more inclined to traditional belief.

    I think you’re right, TimT, although I do find it amusing. In writing the novel I’m working on now, I’ve had to do a mountain of research into classical and Celtic paganism… and believe me, dippy and cute it is not. The line that keeps occurring to me when I read various accounts of what people believed and the practices they followed is ‘Mother Nature, the Bloody Bitch’. This is not to say that it is any better or worse than what came after (Christianity and Islam). Sure, a strong case can be made for greater tolerance and a more positive view of sexuality (the former has been seized upon by aspects of the Green movement, although I suspect most people draw the line at orgies; Clive Hamilton certainly does — he is very puritan) but other aspects are deeply retrograde.

    The worst of both worlds, it really is.

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